While Sookie went to shower, Eric placed a call to Pam, charging her with the task of procuring a dress for Sookie to wear out that night. They needed to make a stop by Fangtasia anyway to check in on Bill. The Authority hadn’t come for him yet, but Eric supposed it was only a matter of time before someone came looking. If no one was there by sunrise Eric would file a complaint on his own with the Magister at the next sundown.
“What kind of dress do you want her in, Eric?” Pam asked.
“Something fitting to her taste,” he answered. He had no interest in dressing Sookie up like she was his own personal little doll.
Pam snorted and said, “I’ve never been curious about the softer side of Sears.”
Eric restrained himself from rolling his eyes and said, “Make do, Pam. You’ve faced bigger challenges in the past. How is our prisoner?”
“Regenerating what I presume to be a pathetic excuse for a penis,” Pam said. “Our little telepathic friend has good aim.”
Eric grinned, but then also hoped to never be on the receiving end of a blast like that. Knowing Sookie could use her light to inflict that kind of damage could make any vampire nervous. He wondered how long it would take for Bill to regenerate that particular part.
“It doesn’t help that I keep taking silver to it. At this rate he might heal by the time Sookie turns thirty,” Pam remarked. “How soon do you need this dress?”
“Within the hour. Oh, and Pam?”
“Sookie isn’t one of your old working girls. Make sure she’s got everything she needs,” Eric said, knowing Pam would get the drift.
“Hmmm,” she responded and then hung up.
Pam was good at giving him insolence in the way she spoke, but she rarely disappointed in action. He had no doubt Sookie would be pleased with whatever Pam selected for her. While Eric waited for Sookie to finish in the shower he checked his mail and wasn’t the least bit surprised when he found a message from the queen, wanting an update on Sookie’s condition. Eric quickly typed out a response, letting her know that Sookie had already made a complete recovery and that Bill was currently being held at Fangtasia until such time as a representative of the Authority could come to pick him up.
When he was finished with that, Eric closed the laptop and moved quickly to join Sookie in the shower. She startled a bit when he first touched her shoulder, but then smiled up at him.
“I just got clean so you’ll have to wait until later to dirty me up again,” she told him.
“I’ll behave myself,” he promised, and dipped down to give her an innocent kiss on her forehead.
All that was left for Sookie to do was rinse the conditioner from her hair, which she did, and then wondered what she was going to wear out of the house since her dress from the night before was definitely soiled. The only option, as far as she could tell, was wearing Eric’s clothing. That would be fine if they were running back to her house to pick up more of her things but she could hardly go into a restaurant dressed like that.
“What am I going to wear?” Sookie wondered aloud.
“It’s being taken care of as we speak,” Eric informed her. “In the meantime you can wear what I’ve left out on the bed for you, and when we stop at Fangtasia you can change.”
“Change into what?” Sookie quirked an eyebrow. “I’m sure it would be great advertising if I walked around in nothing but a Fangtasia t-shirt, but that’s not exactly appropriate.”
Eric grinned and said, “You give me ideas, lover.”
“Hush!” she slapped his arm.
“Pam is taking care of it,” he told her.
“Pam? Pam the leather queen is in charge of dressing me?” Sookie asked incredulously.
“I told her to find something that is your taste,” Eric assured her.
“Oh boy,” Sookie sighed, and stepped out of the shower to reach for a towel.
“She might just surprise you yet,” Eric said over the top of the glass wall.
“And I might spontaneously grow fangs,” Sookie said.
Eric growled and said, “Again, you give me ideas.”
Sookie laughed while she dried off and said, “You just keep your mind out of the gutter, mister. And hurry up; I’m hungry.”
She sashayed out of the bathroom completely naked, which did nothing to temper the rising lust in the horny vampire in the bathroom. There was a black t-shirt sitting on the edge of the bed, along with a pair of boxer shorts. Sookie didn’t think Eric even bothered with underwear since she had yet to see him wearing a pair when he stripped down, but she was grateful for them in that moment. She pulled the t-shirt on first, and then the shorts. She rolled them a little at her hips. Sookie was searching the dresser for a pair of socks when Eric came out of the bathroom with a towel wrapped around his hips.
He smirked at the jolt of lust that hit him and he said, “Keep your mind out of the gutter, lover.”
Sookie narrowed her eyes at him and said, “Put some clothes on and we’ll be fine.”
Eric laughed quietly and disappeared into his closet to get dressed. When he emerged less than ten seconds later he was dry and dressed in a pair of black jeans and an aqua sweater that played up the color of his eyes. Sookie felt herself starting to drool, and she had to mentally shake herself into thinking about anything other than stripping off his clothes and getting herself all dirty again.
“Are you ready to go?” Eric asked her.
“As I’ll ever be,” Sookie stood, thankful he hadn’t paused to tease her for whatever little bits of naughtiness had found their way into the bond.
“What about Moli?” Sookie asked. She was worried about her dog. Eric had promised to have her picked up, but she had no idea where she’d been dropped off.
“Bobby will deliver her tomorrow. He’s had her since early this morning,” Eric said. “You have my word that she is being very well taken care of.”
“And Bill? Has the Authority come for him yet?” she asked.
“No, not yet. He’s being held in the basement at Fangtasia,” Eric informed her. “If no one comes for him tonight I will file a complaint with the Magister myself. I’m surprised Sophie-Anne hasn’t sent anyone up here to fetch him for her.”
“What do you think she’ll do to him?” Sookie asked nervously.
“With Sophie-Anne, who knows. You, however, did quite a number on him. Pam says you have the aim of a natural sharpshooter,” Eric smirked in her direction.
“I’m not even sorry, either,” Sookie folded her arms over her chest.
“Sookie, we’re not upset with you for it,” he said. “In fact, I’m rather surprised.”
“Surprised I was defending myself?”
“Surprised that you chose to do it that way.”
“I didn’t have a whole lot of choice in the matter seeing as how my hands were tied behind me back,” she sighed.
“What’s the matter? Why are you getting offended?”
“Because I don’t take pleasure in hurting people, Eric. I’m not sorry for what I did because it stopped him from doing something worse than just biting me, but that doesn’t mean I’m happy I had to do it,” she explained. “I don’t need to gloat.”
Eric was quiet for a moment, running over the emotions coming from Sookie, trying to figure out which direction her head was going. When they came to a stop at a red light a few blocks away from Fangtasia he said, “You can’t protect him, Sookie. He dug his own grave.”
“He was injured and locked in the trunk of a car with a helpless fairy. You mean to tell me that you would have been able to resist the urge to feed?” Sookie glared at him.
“Are you really letting him off the hook for what he did to you?” Eric argued back. “He knew it was you, didn’t he? He wasn’t unconscious when he bit you?”
“No, he wasn’t, but that doesn’t—”
“So he knew he was locked in a trunk with a woman he claimed to love, and still he nearly drained you dry to save his own life,” Eric cut her off. “And now you’re sitting here feeling guilty because of it. That is fucked up, Sookie.”
She huffed and shook her head, staring out the window. “I don’t expect you to understand.”
“Understand what? You’re feeling guilty for something that was, in no way whatsoever, your fault. You didn’t arrange the kidnapping. You didn’t make Lorena insane. You didn’t volunteer to get in that trunk. You defended yourself against a vampire who was injured, but had enough control to recognize who you were. He bit you anyway, and in the process he broke several of our laws. Why do you still have harbor this urge to protect Bill?” Eric demanded.
“It’s not about Bill!” Sookie shouted. “And stop yelling at me. I only feel bad because… because Lorena dragged him into this. If she had just let him be I wouldn’t have been hurt and Bill wouldn’t be chained up in your dungeon waiting for God knows what to happen to him. I would feel the same way about anyone else that got dragged into a mess that wasn’t of their own making.”
“So you feel that Bill is an innocent victim in all of this the same as you are?” Eric asked, wanting to be sure he understood what she was telling him.
“Yes, that’s what I’m saying,” Sookie said. Eric pulled the car over to the side of the road and Sookie stared over in his direction behind the wheel. “What are you doing? Why did we stop?”
“Because Bill isn’t innocent in this, Sookie. Regardless of how he got involved, he doesn’t get to walk away without any blood on his hands. I can accept that he wasn’t at fault for how you ended up in the trunk of that car. That was a jab at me. Lorena picked Bill to be in that trunk with you because she knew he wouldn’t be able to control himself around you. Don’t you get it yet? Where you are concerned, Bill will always be a predator. He will always be looking for a way to get his fangs into you. He might not have asked to be thrown into the trunk of that car, but he certainly didn’t waste any time biting you, did he?” Eric pointed out.
Sookie sighed and as much as she didn’t want to admit it, Eric was right. She closed her eyes and replayed the whole thing over in her mind. The comment he made about her dress came back into her mind, and that only cemented what Eric had said. If Bill was really crazy out of his mind with bloodlust, the way she was dressed wouldn’t have mattered. He was wounded, but he knew what he was doing. She felt her stomach quiver a little, but managed to keep it from turning.
“You’re right,” she admitted, and the words tasted like vinegar. “You’re right, okay? But I’m still not going to gloat.”
“That’s fine,” Eric said, and put the car back in drive so they could get to Fangtasia.
Pam was waiting in Eric’s office when they arrived. A dress bag was hanging off the closet door, and she grabbed it to hand to Sookie.
“I guessed on the size, but this should work,” Pam said.
“Thank you, Pam,” Sookie said as she took the hanger from Pam.
“There’s a bathroom across the hall,” Eric reminded her.
Sookie nodded, and left the room to change clothes.
“She reeks of you,” Pam said once the bathroom door was closed.
“It’s done, Pam,” he said, knowing she would know what he meant.
“Will she be my sister?” Pam asked, and stood with her hand on her hip, trying to maintain her usual petulantly bored pose.
“It’s possible,” he said, and reached into the desk for a pair of leather gloves. “We haven’t discussed that yet. For now, let’s go check on your new toy.”
Pam turned and led the way down to the basement where Bill was still silvered and miserable as ever. Pam hadn’t been joking about applying silver to where Sookie had shot him the night before, and neither of the vampires in the room were feeling too sorry for him.
“You’ll be glad to know Sookie has made a full recovery,” Eric said when he was standing in front of Bill.
“I didn’t mean to hurt her, Eric. I was injured. Blame Lorena for this,” Bill said.
Eric smiled and said, “Don’t worry; I’ll have my chance at your Maker. For now, I’m more concerned with your actions. You see, I know you weren’t completely without control, Bill. You knew who was in the trunk with you, and you knew very well that she belonged to another vampire. So many of our laws were broken last night. You can blame Lorena all you’d like, but the fact remains that it was your fangs in my bonded’s throat last night.”
“Bonded?” Bill’s fangs dropped.
“Yes, bonded. Sookie and I are now blood bound. That means you can look, but don’t feed,” Eric reminded him. “Now, I can’t say for sure who is going to come for you, but I will be pressing charges. Sophie-Anne is aware of your infraction, and since Sookie is now a registered asset of the state of Louisiana, I’m sure she’ll have a little something to say about your behavior. I’m sure she’ll also be quite displeased with Russell’s inability to control his own child. What happens to you after you leave my bar is completely out of my hands.”
“Unless…” Bill went and voiced the unspoken exception he was sure Eric was considering.
“Eric?” Sookie called upstairs.
Eric leaned into Bill and whispered in his ear, “Unless you come clean once and for all and tell me who is responsible for the death of Adele Stackhouse.”